All visa routes under the new Points Based Immigration System (which is being introduced by the Government to mark the end of the Brexit transition period and the free movement of EU nationals) have now gone live.

From 1 December, all visa applications have to be made under the new requirements.

From 1 January 2021, these visa requirements will apply to EU and non-EU nationals alike (unless the EU nationals hold or are eligible for Settled/Pre-Settled Status, or are nationals of the Republic of Ireland).

Businesses have less than 1 month to prepare themselves for the new regime and ensure compliance with all the new requirements.

The Home Office press release comments that the system is simple, effective and flexible and will ensure employers can recruit the skilled workers they need, whilst also encouraging employers to train and invest in the UK’s workforce.

Applicants for the new skilled worker visa can now apply to work and live in the UK from 1st January 2021. To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor, be employed in a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations and be paid a salary that meets the minimum threshold (which varies depending on the job). Additionally, you must be able to speak, read and write and understand English. The Home Office have said that decisions will usually be made within 3 weeks.

Employers should urgently review their business models and recruitment plans so that they can understand how these changes will impact on them.  Most urgently, if they want to access the work permit routes, they should apply for a sponsor license as soon as possible.